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Water & Sewer

Water Conservation Information For Utilities

Many Wisconsin communities are implementing water conservation programs to protect their water supplies and reduce costs.  Water utilities often provide the leadership and funding for these efforts, which can include demand-side measures such as toilet rebates, education and outreach, customer water audits, restrictions on lawn watering, and water rates that encourage water-efficient behavior.  Water conservation meeasures also include supply-side measures such as water loss control programs.  Successful water conservation programs combine both demand-side and supply-side efforts and are integrated into utilities' planning for future supply sources.  Because each utility is unique, there is no single approach to water conservation that is appropriate for all.

Quick Links:

Getting PSC Approval
Each Wisconsin water utility is required to implement minimum water conservation and efficiency measures, including metering all water sales, controlling losses and leaks in the distribution system, and collecting and reporting water audit information to the PSC.  These requirements can be found in Chapter PSC 185, Wis. Admin. Code

The PSC does not require water utilities to implement demand management programs.  Utilities wishing to implement voluntary demand management programs through rebates and incentives must obtain PSC approval before spending funds on these efforts.  The PSC reviews the utility’s proposed water conservation programs to ensure that any expenditures are cost-effective, reasonable, and in the public interest. The PSC allows utilities to spend about one percent of total operating revenues on water conservation programs.

A utility interested in implementing a water conservation program can request funding for conservation efforts as part of their application for a rate increase.

Click here to request an application form for a conventional water rate case.

Alternatively, a utility may submit a letter requesting that the PSC approve its water conservation program outside of a rate case.  A utility may use existing funding for these programs, or in some cases, the Commission may allow the utility to defer program costs for recovery in a future rate case.  In either case, the utilitymust submit a water conservation plan that describes the proposed water conservation measures and demonstrates that the proposed measures are cost-effective and reasonable. PSC approval is not required for conservation programs funded entirely through wastewater rates or other municipal funds.


Steps in planning a water conservation program

The links below provide resources to help your utility plan an effective water conservation program.

Useful Links

The PSC has developed some additional materials to assist utilities in planning or evaluating their conservation programs.

For more information about the PSC’s water conservation efforts, e-mail Denise Schmidt, PSC Water Conservation Coordinator, at Denise.Schmidt@Wisconsin.Gov